Redundant MM agents hobble penetration- experts



Emmanuel Okoegwale, Principal Associate, Mobilemoney Africa, has said that large number of redundant mobile money agents is a major challenge of the industry.

He said this as figure released by Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) that provides handshake among operators, stated there are 67,000 licensed mobile money agents across the country.

Okoegwale said: “having 67,000 agents is significant by all standards but I believe strongly that a large percentage of them are not actively trading and that is the major challenge of the industry. How to get the recruited agents active, reduce churn and keep them incentivized in a highly fragment mobile financial services industry with low volume transaction is the challenge that has to be address if we are to move forward”.

He added that from regulatory perspective, Nigerian mobile money industry was well thought out to be Bank and non- bank led with limited telecommunications operators’ participation.

“While some industry stakeholders may perceive that as a hurdle, it is actually an opportunity for some others. Though it is clear that in markets where Mobile network operators take the lead, the deployments had been much more successful. Non – telcos that are focused with the right resources can also take up the opportunities if they think there is a compelling reason.”

More so, Eric Barbier, chief executive officer, TransTo, blamed growth of mobilemoney in Nigeria and Africa on regulatory issues.

“It is difficult to get Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) required approval to send money out of Nigeria because the process is not straight forward”.

He added that regulatory challenge has hindered the growth of digital payment and mobile wallet in Africa, he cited South Africa where MTN on two occasions launched Mobilemoney and it all failed.

Reacting to this, Okoegwale said: “Africa’s remittance market is a developing market fueled by diaspora migrant labor and just like many industries in Africa, it has its own share of challenges such as regulation, spread and availability of formal financial services centers, agency network etc.

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